Inside the War Room Week Four
In this week’s Inside the War Room I talk about the best conference in FCS football, name our Prospect of the Week, tell you about prospects who impressed me last weekend, and much more.
Best of the FCS
This week the Missouri Valley Conference will try and prove that it is the top conference in FCS football with two key matchups this weekend. The first big matchup of the weekend is when number one North Dakota State takes on number four Montana this weekend at the Fargodome. This matchup has several prospects on both sides of the ball. North Dakota State is led by my second highest rated small school player in RB John Crockett who rushed for 140 yards in NDSU’s first test of the season vs. Iowa State. The Bison also have several prospects on the defensive side of the ball led by linebacker Carlton Littlejohn who was named a College Sporting News All American earlier this season. He is currently rated as priority free agent on my board. They have several other prospects on my board who carry a free agent grade including DE Kyle Emanuel, S Christian Dudzik, and S Colton Heagle.
While Montana is not a Missouri Valley Conference team they do have two prospects who are catching scouts eye in DE Zach Wagenmann, and S Matt Hermanson. Wagenmann has recorded six sacks this season after recording 8.5 sacks last season. Hermanson is currently second on the team in tackles, and has also picked off two passes this season.
The other MVC team that has a big game that will solidify the conference as the top conference in FCS football is Southern Illinois who goes up against Purdue of the Big Ten. The Salukis have several high ranked offensive prospects that can prove they can play with the big boys of FBS football this weekend. The team’s highest ranked player on my board is TE MyCole Pruitt who is an excellent receiving target, and carries a mid-round draft grade on my draft board. The other offensive player on my board is RB Malcolm Agnew who is averaging an impressive eight yards per rush and also rushed for six touchdowns this season.
When this weekend is over I look for the Missouri Valley to prove to people why they are the best conference in the FCS by winning both games. I think Montana will give North Dakota State a very tough test this weekend, but with the game being played in Fargo I look for the Bison to pull out a close victory. I also think Southern Illinois will win this weekend, and I think they will win by a convincing margin.
Prospect of the Week
Going into the 2014 season there was a lot of hype about a former Florida State quarterback who was supposed to be putting up impressive numbers this year. However, to most people’s surprise the former FSU quarterback who has been putting up impressive numbers this year has not been Alabama QB Jake Coker, but West Virginia QB Clint Trickett.
Trickett has been extremely impressive this season posting strong efforts against Alabama, and Maryland this season. Against the Tide he threw for 365 yards, and almost led the Mountaineers to a big upset only losing by ten points. He had an excellent game last week as well vs. Maryland. He completed 76% of his passes for 511 yards and four touchdowns vs. the Terrapins. One of his biggest tests will come this weekend when he goes up against the fourth ranked Sooners who hold the 12th best passing efficiency defense.
When scouting Trickett the first thing that stands out to me is the accuracy he has shown this season. So far he has completed 75% of his passes, and has shown nice touch in the intermediate passing game. He has shown nice deep ball accuracy as well this season. He looks like a natural leader this season showing the fortitude to out battle Maryland earlier this season, and showing the grit to compete with Alabama even thought his team was a big underdog. One more area of his game I like is his pocket presence. He tends to stand strong in the pocket, and can look off defenders with his eyes evident by the fact he has only thrown one interception this season. The last positive that stands out to me is his sound fundamental play.
The biggest concern I have with him is that he has only looked like pro quarterback for a few games this season, and struggled mightily as a junior. In 2013 he only completed 52% of his passes and only threw seven touchdown passes. He also had a 1-to-1 ratio in terms of touchdown passes to interceptions. This might have been due to the fact he was still trying to master the West Virginia offense after transferring from Florida State that spring. Another concern I have with him is he suffered a shoulder injury last season that caused him to miss significant time. One more concern I have is he needs to prove he has the arm strength to start in the NFL, even though he has shown nice accuracy in the deep passing game this season he doesn’t have the strongest arm in the world.
I currently have Trickett rated as the fifth best senior quarterback on my board, but he could possibly raise his ranking in a relatively weak senior class of quarterbacks if he continues to produce at his current level. However, if junior quarterbacks like Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston, Brett Hundley, and Connor Cook enter the draft his stock will obviously fall in a strong overall quarterback class. When it is all said and done I expect to see Trickett come off the board in the fourth or fifth round area.
Week Three Standouts
Week Three had some outstanding efforts and more prospects made this list then at any other time this season. This week’s list is led by our Prospect of the Week in West Virginia QB Clint Trickett who completed 76% of his passes for 511 yards with four touchdowns in the team’s big win over Maryland. A couple of other quarterbacks who stood out include Baylor’s Bryce Petty who threw for 416 yards and four touchdowns in the team win over Buffalo. Oregon’s Marcus Mariota makes this list yet again after completing an impressive 83% of his passes, and scoring four touchdowns. He is solidifying himself as the top prospect in the 2015 NFL Draft with his outstanding performances on a weekly bases. Another quarterback who made the list was Marshall’s Rakeem Cato who looked impressive vs. Ohio completing 59% of his passes for 425 yards and 4 touchdowns. Cato has had an outstanding season overall throwing for 953 yards and nine touchdowns so far this year. The last quarterback who made the list was Bo Wallace. Wallace is a player who has impressed me with his ability to overcome a horrible game at the start of the season vs. Boise State. Since that game he has completed 79% of his passes with five touchdowns and only one interception.
One position that lacked great performances this week from draft prospects was running back with Southern Illinois’s Malcolm Agnew being the only prospect to make this list. Agnew rushed for 158 yards vs. Southeast Missouri which gives him three straight weeks of over 100 yards rushing. He is the first SIU running back to do this since Jewel Hampton in 2011.
One position that had plenty of standouts was wide receiver. The leader of this class has to be West Virginia WR Kevin White who hauled in 13 passes for 216 yards and one touchdown. This is White’s third straight game of over 100 yards receiving, and in just three games he has caught 32 passes not bad for someone who only had 35 receptions last season. Maryland had an outstanding performance in this game as well in Stefon Diggs who caught five passes for 127 yards which averaged out to 25.4 yards per reception. A player that impressed with his big play ability was Miami WR Philip Dorsett who averaged 50.3 yards on four passes, and took two of these receptions for touchdowns. Dorsett is another player who is about to match his production from last season already hauling in eight passes, after only catching 13 passes last season. Yet another receiver who is about to match his production from last season is Amari Cooper who caught eight passes for 135 yards last Saturday to give him 33 receptions on the season. Cooper only recorded 45 receptions last season, and if he continues at his current pace Cooper would catch 132 passes for 1,913 yards. A tight end who was impressive this weekend was Southern Illinois’s MyCole Pruitt who hauled in five passes for 72 yards and two touchdowns. Pruitt is my top rated small school tight end, and my ninth best small school player overall.
On the defensive side of the ball several small school players stood out led by Colorado State-Pueblo OLB Darius Allen who posted an impressive four sacks against FBS Sam Houston State. Allen is one of the top Division 2 players in this year’s draft class, and is a player quickly rising up my board. Another small school player who stood out was Tennessee State CB De’Ante Saunders who picked off two passes one which he returned for a touchdown. The FBS had several defensive standouts as well led by TCU LB Paul Dawson who recorded 15 tackles, four tackles for loss, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery in the team’s win over Minnesota. Another linebacker who impressed this weekend was Washington LB Shaq Thompson who scored two touchdowns this week picking off a pass for a touchdown, and returning a fumble for a touchdown. Ole Miss CB Senquez Golson was yet another defensive standout recording two picks one which he returned for a touchdown.
For the first time this season we have a special teams standout in Portland State P Kyle Loomis who punted nine times for a 48.7 average and he also placed three of his punts inside the 20 yard line.
Ten Football Thoughts
1. One quarterback I keep hearing positive things about is South Alabama’s QB Brandon Bridge. This is his first year starting at South Alabama, but he has already gained the scouting communities attention with his strong arm, and ability to make plays with his feet despite being 6-5 235 pounds. He still needs a lot of work to develop into a solid overall quarterback, but he defiantly has the natural skills to accomplish this goal.
2. A quarterback that impressed me with his performance on Saturday was South Carolina quarterback’s Dylan Thompson. While he didn’t put up the eye popping stats some other players did he showed that he has good control of his offense, and has the accuracy to play in the NFL. He went from a camp body on my board, to a late round draft prospect on my board.
3. Look for Florida Gator’s WR Demarcus Robinson to become one of the best wide receivers in Florida recent history. He hauled in 15 passes for 216 yards vs. Kentucky last week. He shows excellent ball skills, and overall athletic ability which should allow him to become a top NFL prospect for the 2016 or 2017 NFL Draft.
4. A defensive end who has looked good so far this year is Missouri DE Markus Golden. He has already recorded four sacks this season, and looks like he could be a mid-round draft pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
5. One player that has been putting up impressive stats this year is Morningside RB Brandon Wegher. He has only carried the ball 32 times this season, since Morningside has been blowing out teams. On those 32 carries he has rushed for a very impressive 323 yards which averages out to 11 yards per rush. He has also recorded seven touchdowns on his 32 carries. If he can prove he can play vs. a high level of competition, and quite the character concerns look for him to get invited to an NFL camp.
6. I am starting to think it would be smart move for Florida State QB Jameis Winston to stay in school instead of entering the 2015 NFL Draft. He would be wise to make this decision because his stock could rise dramatically if he stays for two seasons, and doesn’t make any big off the field mistakes like he did this week when he shouted expletives in the school’s Student Union. I would be very weary of selecting him this year due to his off the field issues, but would reconsider my opinion if he was in the 2016 NFL Draft assuming he can stay out of trouble.
7. I have to question how physical Stanford is this season after seeing them only put up 128 rushing yards against a USC team that allowed 452 rushing yard to Boston College. The Cardinals will need to do much better than this if they want to compete for the Pac-12 title.
8. One player who has not put up his normal production is Duke WR Jamison Crowder. He has yet to have a 100-yard game this season, and only caught two passes last week vs. Kansas. With the Hurricanes coming to town in two weeks he will need to have a bigger impact then what he is currently having if the Blue Devils want to remain undefeated.
9. LSU is currently the active leader in player playing in the NFL with 38 players. USC comes in second with 37 players, and Alabama comes in third with 36.
10. A rookie who impressed me this weekend was Chicago Bear’s CB Kyle Fuller who intercepted two passes on Sunday night vs. the 49ers. He will need to have a big season with the Bears losing CB Charles Tillman for the year with a triceps injury which forces Fuller into a more prominent role.
Ohio State DE Noah Spencer has been suspended for a second failed drug test. … Ohio State TE Jeff Heuerman missed last week’s game vs. Kent State. … UCLA QB Brett Hundley left the Texas game with an elbow injury. … Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly injured his foot last week vs. Colorado, and will most likely miss the game vs. UCLA on September 25th. … Utah State QB Chuckie Keeton re-injured his knee, and missed the rest of the Wake Forest game. He will also miss this week’s game vs. Arkansas State … South Dakota State QB Austin Sumner is recovering well from his foot injury, and plans on returning this season. … Miami QB Ryan Williams has been cleared to practice after tearing his ACL this spring. … Oregon OT Jake Fisher will miss the next few weeks of action with a sprained left knee. … Texas QB David Ash has given up football. … UNLV OT Brett Boyko was named the top prospect for the CFL Draft by the Central Scouting Bureau. …